Scientists discover the Iceman had a never-before-seen stomach illness. Angela Moore reports.
Researchers in Europe have discovered that the world's oldest mummy corpse had a very distinctive tummy ache. Known as the Iceman, the 5,300 year-old was discovered stuck in a glacier along Italy's boarder with Austria in 1991. Recently, scientists removed bacteria from his stomach - and what they discovered about the infection might alter the science of bacteria. That's because - until now, scientists believed bacterium reflected a geographic pattern - meaning an African strain would be found in Africa and an Asian strain would be found in Asia. In Europe, there was always a mixture of the African and Asian strains. But now, scientists think that might not be true - because the Iceman's strain is believed to be purely European. SOUNDBITE: Frank Maixner, coordinator of the EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman, saying (English): "Until now it was believed that this mixed strain was already present during the Neolithics. So the farmers brought this already mixed strain to Europe. And now we saw in the Iceman that it was not like this. He carried a more pure strain, an unmixed strain yet and we can say that the history of Helicobacter population genetics in Europe is different from previously thought and rewrites also the text books." Researchers say they will now compare what they have learned with other mummies around the world, including those in South America. They want to determine how bacteria travels.